Looking to the past in order to move forward into the future.
The Sankofa Special Collection serves as a repository of archival materials, biographies, worship resources, and images that tell the story of Unitarian Universalists of Color. It celebrates the experiences of ministers and laity of African American, Native American, Asian and South Asian, Pacific Islanders, and Middle Eastern descent; members of the African Diaspora; and those who identify as multicultural.
The purpose of the Sankofa Special Collection is reflected in its name. Sankofa means looking to the past in order to move forward into the future. Sankofa looks into the silences and absences created by white supremacy, to amplify what has been muted and to recover what has been obscured. Sankofa brings to the present the history of the People of Color who have made Unitarian Universalism a home. It looks into the future to preserve and make accessible the substantial and ongoing impact Unitarian Universalist of Color. Led by the communities it serves, the Sankofa Special Collection creates policies and methods of organization so that People of Color can locate their identities and experiences within Unitarian Universalism.
This Special Collection is meant to evolve. Our goal is for it to be a resource and a repository for the study and exploration Unitarian Universalism’s relationship to race and culture. As the past is unearthed and new resources are developed, they will find a home here. As new history is made every day, it will be preserved and made accessible here.
Sankofa is a living collection and we are constantly on the lookout for new acquisitions that document the rich history of Unitarian Universalists of Color. If you are interesting in donating materials to the Sankofa Special Collection, please contact the archivist.
The very first digital archive project undertook by Meadville Lombard was to digitize the Sankofa Special Collection and we are proud to make over 8,000 Sankofa images freely viable and completely searchable to researchers.
Because the mission of Sankofa is to make increase access to stories that are often forgotten, we make unprocessed collections available to researchers. To use any of our physical collections listed below, please contact our archivist. In most cases, materials are only available for use on campus and in our reading room. In some cases, and within reason, we can scan selected material at your request and send you a high-quality scan of the item(s) you need. Because some of our materials are stored off-site, please contact the archivist at least two weeks before you need to use the materials.